FREE tickets! How to get in the audience of your favourite show this year

... Credit :
Caroline Stronkhorst in Tickets & Entertainment

Last updated: 26 January 2020, 08:49 GMT

Do some of your favourite shows have a live audience? Have you ever wondered how people get a chance to watch the show play out live? You don’t have to be friends with the producer to get a seat (although I’m sure it helps!). We’re going to take a look at:

  • Finding shows where you can apply to be in the audience
  • The application process
  • Tips to get in on the day
  • What to expect at the recording

The first task is to find a show that you actually want to attend! A freebie is a freebie but there is no point in applying to be on a show you haven’t seen before or have and don’t like. The process, especially on the day of recording, can be quite involved and it’s only fun if you want to see the show!

Finding A Show

A good starting place is to Google, “show name + live audience” to see if there are any details about the process for that specific show. The information you are looking for here is to work out who manages the audience of these shows. This varies between different production companies, channels and shows.

An example is that famous Question Time programme on BBC is managed internally by the BBC whereas another BBC show, “Apprentice: You’re Fired” is arranged by a third party agency. A quick Google search normally gives you the information you need.

Tip: find out where the show is filmed. If you are based near London but the show is in Manchester, do you want to make that trip?

If you aren’t sure on what you want to see, here are some handy links:  

The resources above will give you lots of options when it comes to choosing and applying to shows.


The Application Process

As you can imagine, the process for each show varies depending on the levels of audience participation involved in the programme. Current affair shows where audience members get a chance to ask questions are often asked for their opinions and questions as part of the application process. Others where the extent of your involvement is to sit back and enjoy the show are much easier!  

If you are applying for programmes that ask you questions before inviting you to join the audience, it is worth putting some time and love into the answers. Audience seats are very popular so anything that helps you stand out can only be a good thing. Take an additional 5 mins now in return for a few hours of opportunity when the show is being recorded!

All reputable casting companies (see resources list above) will give you a clear outline of the process that you are entering in to. If you fit the audience criteria they have outlined, you are normally put either into a ballot or on to a list for a filming slot.

Important: At no point will you be asked to pay to be in audience - this should be an immediate red flag.

Due to the dynamic nature of TV production, you will normally find out whether you have been given a slot just a few days before filming. You will be asked to quickly respond to confirm your attendance so keep an eye out for these messages!

You very rarely see spare seats in a TV show audience. So how do they do that? Other than just clever angles, they oversubscribe the attendee list. Like some airlines, this means that there simply aren’t enough seats for everyone that turns up. It’s important to be aware of this when entering into the world of TV audiences.

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Getting in on the day 

Winner! You’ve been given a slot to attend to watch your favourite TV show. As you have just found out, this doesn’t guarantee entry to the audience so you need to start stacking the odds in your favour if you want to get a seat.

The key to all of this is simple and not very exciting I’m afraid: turn up early! The closer to the front of the queue you are, the more likely you are to get in. Simple! Take a drink and your best friend and simple sit/stand it out!

Beyond that, your fate really is in the hands of the logistic gods. Like at any nightclub, it is always sensible to be nice to the people on the door whilst waiting. Also, like a nightclub, you are more likely to get in if you aren’t drunk. Don’t be that person!

If you follow the steps above but are unlucky and don’t get in, it is worth staying around for a few minutes as the team normally take your details. You will then get a “premium” ticket (again, free) that will guarantee you entry for the next showing. The audience companies really do appreciate the waiting and effort that people put in so try to support in that with these fast-track tickets for future shows. Be nice, it pays!

tv camera

What about the recording itself?

It probably won’t surprise you that your favourite 28 minute show actually takes a bit longer to film than what the TV audience see. What may surprise you is just HOW long it takes!  

You should give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the show without clock-watching. A 30 min show is likely to be just over 2hrs of studio time. With that in mind, a pre-show trip to the bathroom is advised.

The recordings are normally good fun with lots of direct banter between the show presenters/guests and the audience in-between recording. It is not uncommon for a comedian or professional compere to warm the audience up which is always good fun and gets you in the mood. 

It is worth trying to get yourself in to a TV audience of shows you love for a fun night out on a budget!

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